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Conservative halve Labour’s poll lead

Pull on your boots for the grand tor

Walk of the Month: Malborough, South Devon - Mark Rowe finds rugged scenery and Bronze Age remains along the Devon coast

Dom Joly: Conkers, my secret weapon in the war on spiders

Apparently it's going to be a bumper autumn for spiders. Oh dear. I am a committed arachnophobe, and run screaming like a girl from any room in which the presence of one is even suspected. It's a true phobia –irrational, and totally without cause. And it's only spiders – I don't mind snakes, for example. (Well, I wouldn't say I like snakes but I'd leave a room containing one a tad slower than I would one with a spider in.)

On The Road: No light, no power, no water, but all you need is at 'The Lookout'

"No light!" grins the hotel manager, jangling my keys excitedly. "No light, no light. Not here, not anywhere. Speak to the President, my friend."

163 new species found in Asia

A gecko with spots like a leopard and a fanged frog that preys on birds are among more than 160 new species that have been discovered along the Mekong River but which face the threat of extinction as a result of climate change.

Flights boss warned as he berates staff over queue

It is a scene that has grown all too familiar to weary air travellers over the years: a long winding queue that seems to have ground to a halt while check-in staff linger around apparently powerless to get it moving.

Album: Pere Ubu, 'Long Live Père Ubu!' (Cooking Vinyl)

Pere Ubu albums are always prickly affairs, and this one more than most.

Roar of traffic drowns out frogs' love croaks

Traffic noise could be ruining the sex lives of urban frogs by drowning out the seductive croaks of amorous males, according to an Australian researcher.

Snakes, wasps and spiders...Anna Pavord is enchanted and mystified by the residents of her garden

At last I've seen it, the snake that, over the past two seasons, has left perfect casts of itself in the garden. The skins, dry and crisp, were each about 130cm long, rounded like long sausages, each scale perfectly overlapped on the next. You could see where the eyes fitted in, where the mouth had been. They were light, translucent, fabulously beautiful things. But how could I have been sharing the garden with a creature four feet long and never seen it?

Himalayan wilderness yields 350 new species

Smallest species of deer ever known among new forms of wildlife discovered

Crawling with great ideas: The 'future garden' festival focuses on conservation and insect-friendly innovation

"When I was a kid, growing up in wartime London," says David Bellamy, "there were butterflies everywhere." Clouds of African butterflies have been back in Britain this May, reminding us of what we have lost. Several million Painted Ladies dropped in from Morocco for a summer stint in our green and pleasant gardens, providing a tantalising glimpse of the riches of the past.

Reader review: Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley

My parents were obsessed with guide books. Michelin guides, Egon Ronay, The Good Food Guide - they were annually updated and perused to find the most suitable restaurant wherever we were going (with greatest emphasis usually on the wine). Over the years I often found myself "reviewing" dinners to my husband as we ate, praising and criticising and occasionally, if I was really angry, posting a review on an online forum.

Mark Steel: So this is New Labour's legacy...

They sacrificed all to get elected and now can't get elected to anything

'I have no wish to be represented by a thief'

Hundreds of angry constituents confront Andrew MacKay over his expenses – but he refuses to stand down as their MP
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?